Authentic Indian Prawn Masala

Indian prawn masala recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
361 Calories
20g Fat
16g Carbs
31g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 361
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 241mg 80%
Sodium 796mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 31g
Calcium 193mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Prawn masala is simple yet delicious and, like many Indian dishes, it is packed with flavor. The recipe is quite easy and most of the ingredients are those great spices we expect in Indian cuisine, so don't let the list scare you off.

The recipe involves two steps: a marinade and a masala gravy. The nice thing is that the prawns are marinated only as long as it takes to make the gravy, so the recipe doesn't take much time at all.


  • 17 ounces large prawns (or shrimp; raw, peeled, deveined, and washed)
  • For the Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (vegetable, canola, or sunflower)
  • For the Gravy
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 large onions (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
  • 1 dash salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water (boiling)
  • Garnish: coriander (chopped)

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this prawn masala dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Marinate the Prawns

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for marinade
    The Spruce
  2. In a blender, combine all of the marinade ingredients and grind until it's a smooth paste.

    All ingredients added to a mixer and combined.
    The Spruce
  3. In a large, non-metallic bowl, place the prawns and pour the marinade over them. Mix to coat all the prawns well.

    Prawns marinating in the mixture.
    The Spruce
  4. Cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator to marinate while you make the gravy.

Prepare the Masala Gravy

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for marsala gravy
    The Spruce
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat.

    Pan with oil.
    The Spruce
  3. When the cooking oil is hot, add the chopped onions. Sauté until the onions begin to turn a pale golden brown color.

    Onions added to pot.
    The Spruce
  4. Add the garlic and ginger pastes and sauté for 1 minute.

    Add garlic and ginger to the pot.
    The Spruce
  5. Add the tomatoes, all the powdered spices, and salt to taste. Mix well.

    Add tomatoes, spices, and powders to the pot.
    The Spruce
  6. Sauté the masala (onion-tomato-spice mixture) until the oil begins to separate from it. This can take up to 10 minutes.

    Pan with ingredients sauteeing.
    The Spruce
  7. When the masala begins to look ready, turn off the heat.

    Masala with combined ingredients removed from stove.
    The Spruce
  8. Put the prepared masala into the food processor and grind into a smooth paste (do not add water). Remove and place in a separate container.

    Masala added to the food processor.
    The Spruce

Finish the Dish

  1. Using the same frying pan as before, turn the heat on medium.

    Empty frying pan
    The Spruce
  2. Once it is hot, add the prawns and marinade and sauté until the prawns just begin to turn opaque.

    Add prawns and marinade to the pan.
    The Spruce
  3. Add the prepared masala and boiling water. Stir well.

    Add masala and water to the prawns and marinade.
    The Spruce
  4. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and turn off the heat.

    Masala and prawns cooking in a pan.
    The Spruce
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with chapatis (Indian flatbread) or plain or jeera (cumin) rice, and Kachumber salad.

    Completed prawn and marsala dish with garnish.
    The Spruce
  6. Enjoy!

    Indian prawn masala
    The Spruce


  • The trick is to cook the prawns quickly or they will get rubbery and chewy.

Recipe Variation

  • If you don't have prawns or shrimp, you can make this with skinless, boneless chicken pieces and it is just as delicious.